Skip to main content

Denis Villeneuve shares plans for Dune trilogy

Zendaya in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Director Denis Villeneuve has revealed his hopes for a Dune trilogy. Based on the novel of the same name by Frank Herbert, the upcoming movie will only follow the events of the first half of the book, with Part 2 likely to follow (although it hasn't been officially greenlit yet). The sci-fi epic also has five sequels, so there's definitely enough source material for another movie after that.

"There is Dune’s second book, The Messiah of Dune, which could make an extraordinary film," Villeneuve told CBC Radio Canada (via Collider). "I always saw that there could be a trilogy; after that, we’ll see. It’s years of work; I can’t think of going further than that."

The movie focuses on a planet called Arrakis (also known as Dune), the only source of the most valuable substance in the universe – a drug called ‘the spice’ that extends human life, provides superhuman levels of thought, and makes faster-than-light travel possible. 

Oscar Isaac plays Duke Leto Atreides, the man in control of Arrakis, while Timothée Chalamet is his son Paul. After a bitter betrayal, Paul must seek refuge among the Fremen, the native people of the planet who live in the desert – one of these people is Chani, played by Zendaya. Oh, and throw some dangerous giant sandworms into the mix, too. The all-star cast also includes Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, and Javier Bardem. 

"We have been hearing in the past few decades that it’s not possible to adapt this book, and that it’s an impossible task. I think that in the back of the mind of the studio, it’s still the same!" Villeneuve told our sister publication Total Film.

"So the first thing was to prove that there was a beautiful, popular movie that can exist, and I think that I proved that – everybody at Warner Bros and Legendary, they are 100 percent behind the project. They feel that it would need a really bad outcome at the box office to not have a Dune: Part Two, because they love the movie. They are proud of the movie, so they want the movie to move forward. And they still did half of it. So, you know, I’m very optimistic."

Dune arrives simultaneously in US theaters and on HBO Max on October 22, with a slightly earlier theatrical date of October 21 in the UK. While we wait, check out our list of the best sci-fi movies of all time. 

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.